At the end of the day, we all just want to be loved.
We want to deeply matter to someone, particularly the people who deeply matter to us: our family, our friends, our significant other.
But some of us crave love and affection much more than the average person, almost to the point that some might say it’s too much, too needy.
But what makes a person too needy?
Why do some of us need endless amounts of affection, and no matter what our loved ones do, it never seems like it’s enough?
Here are 5 reasons why you might be craving affection so much, and 5 ways to make that stop:
Reasons Why You Might Crave Affection:
1) You Never Received It As A Child
Whether or not you believe it, so much of the way you act today was determined years and decades ago during your childhood.
Our formative years shape and mold the personality and habits we carry on our entire lives, and one of the most common negative ways that a person’s childhood influences them is through their need for affection.
Specifically, if affection was denied to you as a child, you’ll naturally crave it your entire life.
As a child, we inherently yearn for love and affection from our parents.
They give us the feeling of safety and home that we need to grow in peace.
But not all parents are affectionate, unfortunately; many parents have trouble giving their children the right amount of affection, acting cold and emotionless to their kids instead.
This leaves us with a void in our self-esteem, half-believing we weren’t given affection because we didn’t deserve it.
Children without enough affection end up growing into adults who crave it from anyone who might possibly give it to them, making them seem too obsessive and needy.
2) You’re Not Receiving It From Your Partner
Aside from your parents, another source of affection is your romantic partner.
It’s drilled into us in movies and music that your girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse should be loving, caring, and affectionate; your go-to when you need to be emotionally fulfilled, and when you need to feel like someone on this earth cares about you.
But like with parents, not all partners know how to be naturally affectionate.
Even if your partner loves you, they might not have the same love language as you, meaning the way they show affection might not be the way you want to receive it.
Perhaps they show affection through gifts or favors, whereas you want affection with physical touch and words.
This can lead to a huge disconnect, leaving you feeling hungry for affection even if your partner believes they’re doing everything they already can.
3) You Haven’t Found Your Crowd
We all have a “tribe”, or people with similar mindsets, hobbies, and beliefs as us.
We don’t always know where to find that tribe.
For many people, their tribe might not even exist in their surrounding community; they might be too culturally different from their environment, making it difficult for them to truly connect with those around them.
This can leave you feeling lost and unwanted.
You feel like you have tons to contribute, you have mountains of love in your heart you want to share, but no one around you clicks with you on your wavelength, so you just don’t know how to really open up.
You start wondering if you’re the problem, and perhaps you don’t even deserve the affection of other people.
4) You’re Overflowing With Love
You can’t understand it. You had a great childhood, you have a wonderful partner, and you have a community of friends around you.
But for some reason, you still feel like you crave tons and tons of affection. What’s causing it?
The problem might be you, and how much love you have in your heart.
There are many cases where people simply have way too much love and affection inside of them to give around, and that’s great for other people; however, it isn’t great for you.
You don’t understand why other people don’t match your energy and level of affection, and since their affection is nowhere near yours, you feel like theirs isn’t truly real.
So you have to tell yourself — calm down.
People show and express love in different ways, at different levels of energy.
It might not be the energy you have, but that doesn’t make it any less positive.
5) You’re Recovering From A Falling Out
You crave affection more than you ever have in your life, and you don’t understand why.
But ask yourself one question: did you recently lose someone important to you?
If the answer is yes, then that’s exactly what’s going on: you have a giant empty pit where tons of affection used to be because a person you once loved (who once loved you) is now no longer in your life.
Even if you don’t want to admit that losing them hurt you enough to leave you with a kind of emptiness, it’s still the harsh reality you have to face.
And only once you accept that can you start to learn how to replace it.
That doesn’t mean finding someone else immediately to take their place; it simply means acknowledging that you have that emptiness, and perhaps learning how to fill it yourself.
Healthy Ways To Keep It In Check:
1) Journal And Keep Track Of Your Emotions
Understanding what triggers this craving is the first step to keeping it under wraps.
Understanding oneself is inherently challenging and requires a lot of self-work and patience.
Oftentimes our impulses and desires aren’t easy to understand, mostly because they may operate in ways we’re not even conscious of.
Keeping a journal allows you to log the changes in your emotions, leaving you a trailhead for exploration.
You don’t have to know the answers right away, and that’s okay.
The point of journaling is so that you have regular clues you could look into that will help you find objective patterns in your behavior.
Once you understand what sets off these feelings, it becomes a bit easier to understand where it’s coming from, and what are the needs behind it.
2) Try Therapy
More often than not, a strong desire for affection, enough to disrupt relationships and damage your self-image, is symptomatic of things bubbling underneath the surface.
If you don’t understand why you’re feeling a certain way, or are surprised by how sudden these feelings surface out of nowhere, it might be worth considering talking to a mental health professional so you have someone experienced guiding you through these conversations.
Oftentimes people equate therapy with giving up.
In reality, it’s a wonderful opportunity to work alongside someone in understanding why you feel the way you do and respond to situations a certain way.
3) Spend Time With People Who Make You Feel Loved
So you’re craving affection – why not fill up that tank?
Sometimes the best “fix” is the simplest one: hang out with people who actually make you feel loved and make you feel welcome.
One reason why you might be feeling a bit empty is if you’re constantly giving away affection without receiving any in return.
This isn’t limited to just romantic context.
Even in platonic situations, it’s not uncommon to be the friend who gives more or loves too much. Everyone has individual needs and thresholds for affection.
Ultimately, you might be feeling starved because you’re not in very reciprocal relationships.
Be more mindful of your social interactions and pay attention to those who actually fill up your tank.
4) Set Up Regular Interactions
Affection sometimes works like hunger in that we don’t always realize how hungry we are until we’re starving.
It’s easy to forget your social needs when you’re engaged with work and your personal life, and even easier to make excuses and convince yourself that’s not really a need that you have.
Regardless of what you might be feeling presently, the fact that you’re craving affection shows that a part of you is yearning for other people’s presence, and admitting that doesn’t make you any less self-reliant.
Find a touchpoint that’s sustainable for you.
For some people it’s having weekly dinners with friends; for some, it’s bi-weekly cozy video calls.
Affection functions like hunger in the same way.
You don’t have to stuff your face to feel full. Sometimes smaller meals throughout the day are better than one big feast.
5) Engage In Self-Care
So you spent some time with friends and family and somehow you’re still feeling depleted.
At this point, it’s worth looking internally and seeing if there are parts of you that might be needing some care or affection.
It’s getting increasingly difficult to slow down and be in touch with our needs because we’re constantly bombarded with distractions.
Why take the time to reflect and understand what might be causing negative feelings when it’s so much more gratifying to play a video game or watch videos online?
Self-care isn’t just taking time off or doing activities that you love.
For a lot of people, the most basic aspect of self-care, which is self-reflection, is often overlooked and left unattended.
Is a part of you feeling overwhelmed? Is a part of you feeling lonely?
Sometimes just the mere act of acknowledging that you’re feeling these things, and allowing yourself to experience them without judgment, is enough to give yourself the care you deserve.
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